Northeast Tigers face tough test

Northeast Miss Community CollegeBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

The Northeast Tigers football team has a modest two-game winning streak.

Any chance of making that three games will be a tough proposition.

The Tigers will host Gulf Coast today with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff. What makes it tough is that the visitors are the third of three highly ranked South Division teams on the Northeast schedule for 2013.

“Our South Division schedule rotates every two years, and we had this group before,” Northeast head coach Ricky Smither said. “Then, it was like taking a stick to a gun fight.”

Gulf Coast (3-1) just fell out of the No. 1 spot in the nation in the NJCAA poll, losing to Jones County last week 52-42, and dropping to No. 10. Jones, ranked No. 9 in the current poll, barely escaped Booneville with a 34-28 victory Sept. 5.

Northeast also lost to No. 4 and defending state champion Copiah-Lincoln 29-20 to open the season.

“We made it through those two tough games, and did not lose anybody to injury,” Smither said. “If we can keep these guys together, they are fired up about getting into North Division play. They think they can play with anybody in the state, and I think they’ve proved it.”

Northeast is coming off a 34-21 victory over the Northwest Rangers to improve to 2-0 in North play.

Liggins under center

The spotlight from that victory fell upon Lafayette freshman Jeremy Liggins. Having played defensive end (14 tackles) in previous games for the Tigers, the 6-foot-4 Liggins was inserted at quarterback against Northwest, throwing for three TDs and 154 yards.

“I’d been trying to save him for a key moment,” Smither said. “I decided right before the game.”

Liggins and sophomore Jerrard Randall combined for 441 all-purpose yards against Northwest, with Smither indicating that Liggins will get the start tonight. against Gulf Coast.

“I’ve always been a fan of the two-quarterback system,” Smither said. “My nickname for them is Thunder and Lightning.”